Jesus Before The Gospels: How The Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, And Invented Their…

Hardcover | March 1, 2016

byBart D. Ehrman

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The bestselling author of Misquoting Jesus, one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today examines oral tradition and its role in shaping the stories about Jesus we encounter in the New Testament—and ultimately in our understanding of Christianity.

Throughout much of human history, our most important stories were passed down orally—including the stories about Jesus before they became written down in the Gospels. In this fascinating and deeply researched work, leading Bible scholar Bart D. Ehrman investigates the role oral history has played in the New Testament—how the telling of these stories not only spread Jesus’ message but helped shape it.

A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman draws on a range of disciplines, including psychology and anthropology, to examine the role of memory in the creation of the Gospels. Explaining how oral tradition evolves based on the latest scientific research, he demonstrates how the act of telling and retelling impacts the story, the storyteller, and the listener—crucial insights that challenge our typical historical understanding of the silent period between when Jesus lived and died and when his stories began to be written down.

As he did in his previous books on religious scholarship, debates on New Testament authorship, and the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, Ehrman combines his deep knowledge and meticulous scholarship in a compelling and eye-opening narrative that will change the way we read and think about these sacred texts.

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From the Publisher

The bestselling author of Misquoting Jesus, one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today examines oral tradition and its role in shaping the stories about Jesus we encounter in the New Testament—and ultimately in our understanding of Christianity.Throughout much of human history, our most important stori...

From the Jacket

The bestselling author of Misquoting Jesus, one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today examines oral tradition and its role in shaping the stories about Jesus we encounter in the New Testament—and ultimately in our understanding of Christianity.Throughout much of human history, our most important stori...

New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman grew up in Lawrence, Kansas and graduated from Wheaton College in 1978. He earned his Masters of Divinity and PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary and has taught at Rutgers University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor. He ha...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.09 inPublished:March 1, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062285203

ISBN - 13:9780062285201

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Customer Reviews of Jesus Before The Gospels: How The Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, And Invented Their Stories Of The Savior

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Gospels and the Nature of Human Memory When it comes to a no nonsense analysis of New Testament texts, this author is by far my clear favorite. In this most captivating book, he examines the many inconsistencies and contradictions contained in the stories recounted in both the canonical and some of the non-canonical gospels which were written, by unknown authors, several decades after the death of Jesus. In doing this, he delves into the nature of human memory, including the various types of memory as well as how, why and what we remember, etc. In light of this information, the author dissects the texts with surgical precision in an effort towards understanding how the many discrepancies came to be there. I found this book very difficult to put down. For me, the author’s analyses and resulting findings are clear, intriguing and quite refreshing. His prose is a model of clarity which is so important when discussing such matters. It is quite detailed without being monotonous; it is also lively, very friendly, highly accessible and quite engaging. This book should be of interest to anyone open-minded enough to objectively follow the author in his detailed analysis of why and how some of the many problems that plague the New Testament came to be there.
Date published: 2016-03-25

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Editorial Reviews

“No one makes it easier to study the Bible than Ehrman. Jesus Before the Gospels is essential. Ehrman presents a much needed, brilliant argument-one that challenges unsubstantiated assumptions about the reliability of the Gospels.”